August 18, 2020.
President Trump has nominated five individuals, including four judges, to sit on the U.S. Sentencing Commission. The USSC plays a major role in the federal criminal system, starting first and foremost with developing and updating the federal sentencing guidelines for criminal cases. In recent years, the USSC had been moving in the direction of reducing the severity of sentences for certain offenses and recommending reducing certain mandatory minimum sentences. The president’s picks have elicited criticism from advocates of criminal justice reform on both ends of the political spectrum, especially the president’s choice of three judges who have well-established reputations of being “tough on crime” and imposing long sentences.
The president’s picks include Judge K. Michael Moore from the Southern District of Florida, Judge Henry Hudson of the Eastern District of Virginia, Judge Claria Boom from the Eastern District of Kentucky, Judge L. Felipe Restrepo of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, and John Malcolm, a former prosecutor and member of the Heritage Foundation. The group has also been criticized for the lack of diversity in addition to what reform advocates say are hostile views towards criminal justice and sentencing reform.